SHERMAN – Dora Ella Owens Anderson, 94, of The Villa West, a retirement home in Sherman, died Friday, May 16, 2008.
She was born Oct. 14, 1913, in the Hampton Settlement, south of Carterville, to George Spencer Owens and George Anna Chamness Owens. She married Clyde Wesley Anderson on June 1, 1934. Clyde passed away in 1987 in Puryear, Tenn., where they had retired to in 1974. They had three sons. Tim, their 11-month, three-week-old son, died in 1947. Tom, their middle son, died in Florida in 2002. This leaves her son, Jim, and his wife, Marylin Ortiz Rosas Anderson, as her sole family. In 1990, Dora moved to Springfield to be near Jim and his family.
Dora Ella was a retired Elementary School teacher. She got her degree from Bloomington Normal University in 1970. She taught at Chatham until she retired. She was a member of United Methodist Church in Puryear.
She leaves to mourn her, her son, Jim (wife, Marylin); a niece, Vanita Boaz; and nephews, Stanley (wife, Elaine) Wagner, Robert Gene (wife, Joan) Owens, Robert Keith McCutcheon; and many cousins and friends.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her brothers, Jesse Owens and John Owens; her sisters, Garnet Owens, Pauline (Mrs. Burton Cannon) Irene (Mrs. Fulton Wagoner), and Sybil (Mrs. Robert McCutcheon); two grandsons, Mark Allen Anderson (Jim’s son) and David Matthew Anderson (Tom’s son).
Dora Ella will be remembered by many as The Doll Woman. After retirement as a teacher, she began making dolls of historical figures (She used 11 and ½ character dolls, as Barbies and Kens). She also spent much time on her genealogy. At age 87, she finally finished her book on it. The title of her book being Genealogy of Dora’s Dolls. As she searched for her ancestors, she realized they, too, had a story to tell. So she started making a doll to represent each of her characters. She ended up making 265 Genealogy Dolls. They are one of a kind because they came from her memory and reflections. To her knowledge, no one had ever tried this before. It was fun. She had fashioned many other dolls in her years of working. Some 800 now rest on the shelves of ex-congressman Kenneth Gray’s Museum in West Frankford. When it became impossible to fashion any more dolls, Dora begin to write the story of My Other Dolls. She wrote three volumes on the subject. She also wrote of Williamson County and southern Illinois. In 2006 and 2007, she tried her hand on writing the story of the Bible characters that she had made dolls for. In 2007, she did the same for her dolls of the French Royals.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, May 19, 2008, at Staab Funeral Home, with a funeral service at 7 p.m. Burial will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in East Lawn Memorial Gardens in Herrin.
Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society.
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